Mary Swans debut novel, which I discussed yesterday, still has me stumped as to whether I liked it or not. I could analyse it for weeks but I think it might simply be one of those books that I always feel that way about. The good thing about books like that is that they can cause a great discussion, book groups where members love and loathe books in equal measure are the ones that often have the best results. So I thought that love and hate relationships we have with certain books might make for a nice little discussion post for this Monday in May.
‘The Boys in the Trees’ is not the only book that despite being rather wonderfully written has left me with mixed feelings. ‘The Heart of Darkness’, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ are classics that have all had that effect, though over time I have gone off them rather than the other way. Ha, if you look at that paragraph it almost sounds like I am saying ‘The Boys in the Trees’ could be one of the next greats, you never know! What I do know is that I don’t like being left feeling ‘on the fence’ or ambivalent, I want to love or loathe a book (preferably love) which is really rather unrealistic but is it not human nature?
Oddly I still want to read Mary Swan’s short stories despite my initial reactions to a wonderfully written book that just wasn’t for me! I am not someone who lets one book I personally didn’t get (and I do tend to blame myself and not the book with an ‘it’s not you it’s me’ attitude) put me off an author. I don’t rush out and buy another book by that author I will admit but if someone raved about a book by an author I tried once and didn’t get on with I would still give it a go. I am a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ kind of reader though. I can only imagine me breaking that rule for an author I have loved who has written 10+ books of which two might have fallen a little flat with me. When do you write off an author?
How many times have we picked up a book we have been 100% sure that we will love only to really loath it? What about when we have started a book we were determined to utterly despise and then only went and loved the damned thing? What about the books that leave us ambivalent or we love and hate all at once? I am going to have a think about mine further and come back to you as the day progresses. What bookish tales of love, hate or both have you got to share? I wonder if there will be a trend with any of them?